Google 'Babble': Chat Chaos Control?

By Nicole Spector March 19, 2013

It's as though Google's eyes are bigger than its stomach, sometimes. One can imagine the mega-company surveying a buffet of Internet features, piling its plate to the roof, convinced it can master every last bit of functionality. Then, halfway through its ambitious meal, Google starts to heave and “spaz.”

Communications domain is a prime example of an area the tech behemoth has looked to excel in but has teetered unsteadily. Google has a gaggle of chatty services including Google Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Drive, and Google Talk for G+. It's quite an offering, but it is a problematic one. None of the systems really jive together or connect. Babble, the company's proposed cross communication platform to unify chat functions, could solve the problem.

In line with Google's long-standing preference, Babble organizes by conversation. As with G+Messenger, users can share photos in chat windows, or start a Hangout with fellow Google contacts, with conversations threaded across all the existing services. The idea then is the same – just simplified. Under Babble, all chat services will be moved to a single platform. One chat window can be used across all of Google’s products with the same features available everywhere.   Until now, most of Google’s chat services have been scrappily joined together using the sealed off manipulations of an open chat platform called XMPP – a service Google is moving away from in order to build a closed communications platform. The new Babble service will function not by XMPP standards, but by Google's. A new set of Google-officiated chat features will take some getting used to, but at least it will bring some consistency and compatibility within the brand's troubled area.

Babble doesn't have an official release date, but a presentation on it is expected to be delivered during this year's Google I/O in May. The service will sport an app for Android and Chrome OS.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing Writer

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